Yeah, but new walls or not, it’s hard to slow down offensive juggernauts like the Astros and Mariners possess.
In the second game in Safeco since the walls were brought in, those two teams combined for eight homers in a 16-9 Houston victory. Here’s the list:
Chris Carter x2
All three of Seattle’s came after Erik Bedard departed and new callup Paul Clemens came on. Clemens had a 5.78 ERA and allowed 23 homers in 143 1/3 innings in the minors last year, so his getting tattooed shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The homers were the first for Bay and Ibanez this year. Morse is tied for the major league lead with six.
The Astros, on the other hand, had totaled two homers in seven games this season before going deep five times tonight. They homered three times off Kameron Loe, once off Charlie Furbush and once off Oliver Perez.
Larry Stone of the Seattle Times reports that it’s the third time there have been as many as eight homers hit in Safeco. There were nine hit there twice in 2004.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.